Spiced Millet Flour Porridge


My mom walks through the tiny kitchen, settles in front of window and looks on forlornly at the pouring rain.
“It’ll all come down today and clear up in time for church by tomorrow” she says hopefully,
“Oh and maybe we’ll get a little sunshine; I’d love to go for a little walk down the beach before lunch tomorrow”

It’s a grey and cloudless wet Saturday morning and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s doubtful the rain would stop by tomorrow, not according to the forecasts. I also feel like I need to prepare her; I’m tempted to tell her about the time it rained for 30 days straight!
It reminds me of something I read recently; ‘The rain falls like we fall in love; refuting all predictions’.

“What are you making?” She asks peering closer at the stove, away from the rain.
Hausa Koko” I tell her. “Good, good, it’s exactly what we need on a morning like this” she says.

Eyes back towards the window, she tries with a bit of cheer in her voice “Did I ever tell about the oranges I grew in my garden?”

IMG_3373 IMG_3369

I know the rain makes her miserable, and she wishes she was someplace else… but not yet – there always seem to be one more something keeping her here, one more Dr.’s appointment, one more test, one more checkup, a new concern, a new trial…

“The oranges the Hausa Koko woman helps you pick?” I ask and she gets into a story I’ve heard at least a dozen times.

Hausa Koko is a traditional porridge made from millet flour and spices; credited to the Hausa people among whom millet is a dietary staple, it’s a very popular Ghanaian street food.
On most mornings, it’s sold on street corners, and by women (and men) who carry them throughout neighbourhoods.

The good thing is, you can just as easily make this porridge at home too, even when home is thousands of miles away from where you started out. All you need is millet flour and a few spices from your pantry.
In stores that carry African food, you’ll probably find packets of premixed Hausa Koko.

Spiced Millet Flour Porridge (Hausa Koko) IMG_3356

You already know that I love millet; for its subtle nutty flavour, resilience and nutrition, and this porridge is sweet and spicy, creamy, aromatic, with a slight nuttiness from the millet.
The heat from the spices; ginger, cloves, chilli pepper, cinnamon and cardamom is also subtle, but use as little or as much as you want.
The spices aren’t that much of a deviation from the traditional, yet the warmth and depth of flavour from this porridge feels just right for autumn.

  • coconutandberries

    As you say this sounds perfect for these Autumnal mornings. What quantity of millet flour did you use? And can I just blend up millet grain?

    • Oops! looks like I forgot the millet flour in the list of ingredients – I’ve fixed it, 1/2 cup of millet flour. And grinding your own is probably even better, it’ll be fresher.

  • Perfect, I have some millet flour in my pantry! I wait for the quantity too 😉

    • I’ve updated the ingredients list – it’s 1/2 cup of millet flour 🙂

  • Beautifully written! I get so tired of oatmeal, I’m going to try this as I am always looking for different ways to prepare millet.

    • Thanks! Hope you like it 🙂

  • Thanks for writing this! What kind of millet did you use because i have the yellow millet and i know Hausa Koko is gray and i was wondering if the yellow millet is okay to be used. Thanks!

    • Hi Daavi, yellow millet should be ok, I’ve used a variety of millet flour; finger millet (brownish), actual hausa koko and yellow millet. There isn’t much of a difference 🙂

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  • Oh… what an awesome way to have Koko

    • Thank you! 🙂

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  • Ohemaa

    Yay! Can’t wait to make my own with some kose. Living in the middle of nowhere and I can’t find the premixed one anywhere. Thank you!

  • Hi Maame, I’m not entirely sure, but based on the colour, I’m tempted to day it’s unhulled millet.